Google Shopping Actions: Alternative or Complement for E-Merchants?


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We are writing a lot these days about Google Shopping Actions, but that is because it represents the first big footprint in the next wave of e-commerce. In its own way, like many other things Google does, it’s revolutionary.



Why so many e-merchants are flocking to Google Shopping

Google Shopping Actions (or Buy on Google, as the user sees it) takes the platforming of the online buying experience off of the usually understood “store” or “marketplace” where we’re used to shopping, directly onto a pop-up mini-product page that appears in the Google search results. There are no additional buying frictions where someone has to read through all the titles and snippets to see which of the linked sites is selling the product they’re seeking, go to that store or marketplace, sign in, enter their account and shipping address, etc.  For well-performing merchants, there is a Buy box right in the popup window. Buy on Google, pay with your stored Google Pay or PayPal information, and your package is on its way–done and done.

Those are the benefits to the consumer, but the e-merchant is also enjoying better merchandising opportunities with this scheme. Google Shopping eliminates the frictions, helps them stand out from competitors selling the same product, and attracts loads of new traffic from convenience-loving buyers doing a general search who otherwise may never have heard of their store brand.



A great alternative, but with a dark side

There’s a dark side to this, though, which is that it can be easy to take the low-hanging fruit of these new customers and be seduced by the corresponding boost in sales. As we discussed in our post about e-commerce metrics, the cost of acquiring new customers vs returning ones is a high ratio. And there’s the rub: with Google Shopping, there are a lot fewer chances to sell to them again. In effect, you’re giving Google the role of store operator, while you’re in charge of stocking and merchandising.

You don’t interface with the customer because they’re not using your checkout page. You’re not creating a relationship where you can upsell, track purchase histories, or lure them back with special offers. They may not even take note of the name of your store, so they can recommend you to their friends. The way they see it, they’re just getting their stuff via Google in a faster, more efficient way.

All of that being said, we’re still very upbeat on Google Shopping and strongly recommend that it be a part of your marketing strategy–the opportunities can’t be ignored. And a couple of recent moves by Google have sweetened the pot even further. It first made participation in Google Shopping free to merchants, and it’s now eliminating the payment processing fees for Google Pay, as well as opening the Google Shopping platform to other payment processors like Shopify and PayPal.




Google Shopping Actions should be a complement to Google Ads, not an either-or alternative.

Google Ads still link directly to your store, where you maintain control over the user’s experience. You can entice them to sign up for things, buy more things, and upsell with bundled offers. Google Ads aren’t going away, and it’s not a bad strategy to use both Google Ads and Google Shopping Actions in tandem. Google Ads will drive visitor traffic to your own store, regardless of what selling platform you use (Shopify, Magento, Netsuite, etc.).

Your brand’s name has a chance to spread. It can lock into a consumer’s mind for the next time they want something from your store because they’ve visited it before, and they know the types of inventory you carry. Those opportunities just aren’t there if you only use Google Shopping because they never get beyond the popup product page.

So at the same time you’re attracting new and returning customers with Google Ads, you can also be piling up lots of quick sales via Google Shopping. It’s the best of both worlds.


Get help with all of your Google marketing strategies.

As an original Google Shopping partner, Shoppingfeed’s product listing service optimizes your product listings for both typed and voice search queries on Google Shopping, for Google Ads (formerly Adwords), and for more than 1000 other selling channels across the globe.


Get in on Google Shopping Actions!

Julie Stewart

My mission at Shoppingfeed is explaining how to leverage e-commerce platforms and SaaS technology to e-merchants who just want to run their business and make more money.

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